In this season of ghosts and ghouls, some of us avoid the seedier aspects of Halloween, preferring instead to dress up as princesses and superheroes. That’s all well and good, but there is still something cathartic about looking into the eyes of death–well, as long as it’s in the pages of a book or on the silver screen. To celebrate the season, here are 10 recommended library items about the post-mortem body
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: The classic monster novel features Dr. Frankenstein, his monster, and a whole lot of unintended consequences.
Stiff: the Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach: Roach takes you on a surprisingly fascinating ride through the history of cadavers. It’s compelling, odd, iminently educational, and surprisingly funny. Don’t miss this one.
Pushing Daisies: Ned can bring the dead to life briefly when he touches them, and must touch them again to reverse the spell. Along with a private eye, he uses his gift to help solve crimes and collect the rewards.
The Corpse Bride: Victor has messed up his vows during a wedding rehearsal, and is traveling through the woods, reciting his vows. He stops to rest in the woods and while practicing, he finally gets them right and ceremoniously puts the wedding ring on a finger-shaped stick in the ground and says his wedding vows. The stick turns out to be a rotted finger belonging to a murdered girl who has returned as a zombie and insists that she is now Victor’s lawfully wedded wife.
Death’s Acre: Inside the Legendary Forensic Lab The Body Farm Where the Dead do Tell Tales by William M. Bass: A forensic anthropologist traces his work at his Tennessee “body farm” lab and cites his contributions to the investigations of several murder cases, as well as his theories about such famous cases as the Lindbergh kidnapping.
The Lady and Her Monsters by Roseanne Montillo: Blends nineteenth-century science with literary creation to trace the origins of the classic horror story, exploring how Shelley and her contemporaries were intrigued by scientists who were obsessed with the inner workings of the human body.
The Trouble with Harry: Harry’s corpse is found in the autumnal New England woods. While no one mourns his death, several people feel responsible for it. The body is unearthed several times, humorous situations occur, and love affairs develop before the real cause of Harry’s death is revealed.
Dawn of the Dead: The corpses of the recently-dead are returning to life & attacking the living, devouring their victims. Two members of the Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team & their friends land in a shopping mall occupied by the living dead. They secure the mall through brutal battles with the creatures, but can they escape both the bandits & the zombies?
Frankenweenie: Young Victor conducts a science experiment that will bring his dog Sparky back to life, only to face unintended, sometimes monstrous consequences.
Corpse: Nature, Forensics and the Struggle to Pinpoint Time of Death by Jessica Snyder Sachs: Shows like CSI popularized the work of forensic scientists, and in this book, Jessica Snyder looks at the process of pinpointing time of death through the decomposition of a dead body. Fascinating, and not for the more squeaming